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An Emporia State Campus Community Open Forum was held virtually on Thursday to inform students and the ESU community how students and faculty are performing during the COVID-19, especially as flu season approaches. 

Currently, there are 35 positive tests out of the 307 total tests given. Jim Williams, vice president of student affairs, and David Cordle, provost, answered students and faculty questions after an introduction made by Allison Garrett, ESU President. She discussed the different tests—mass testing, symptomatic testing, student athlete testing and student teacher testing. 

“We’re grateful to all of those who have been tested and to all of those who have participated in organizing the testing and doing the testing,” Garrett said. “I think it’s very important for Emporia State.”

Another form of routine testing is the oncampus student surveillance program. Williams explained it is a science-based program intended to ensure the random selection of students with the help of the department of Biology. The first round of students have been notified via email and will meet in the Skyline Room to answer questions and select a date in October to be tested. The goal is to reach 350 to 450 students. 

“Our hope is that this will continue to give us a surveillance pattern of the way COVID is impacting the campus,” Williams said.

Student athletes will also be tested regularly throughout the semester.

“One of the other things that we are doing as a matter of good practice throughout the semester is testing 25 percent of each team every other week,” Garrett said. “That's something that the NCAA has recommended for athletic groups that are actually in competition but we think it’s a good practice and it really helps Emporia State stay on top of whether we have COVID beginning in some of our student athlete groups.” 

Administration didn't provide answers to some questions such as the number of positive cases necessary for campus to shut down and how it would impact occupancy in the residence halls. 

“There really is more than one factor that would come into play as we consider changing what we're doing right now,” Cordle said. “Some of the factors that could come into play are the number of new cases, number of active cases and the percent of positive cases... I think the best way to think about it is it would be several different factors and the way they interact that would influence any change in what we’re doing.”

If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms you can make an appointment to be tested at the Student Wellness Center by calling (620) 341-5222. 

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